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    Vassar College
  Jan 19, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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STS 367 - Mind, Culture, and Biology

1 unit(s)
(Same as SOCI 367 ) What can memes, genes or Darwinian social science tell us about religion, literature, or consumer culture?  To what extent can Biology explain culture or at least inspire substantive debate about the role of ideas?  This course addresses the “Darwinization of culture” and explores various competing perspectives ranging from Evolutionary Psychology and Bio-Sociology to Memetics and Social Construction. Seminar discussions include controversial attempts to interpret Homeric epics (Gottschall’s The Rape of Troy), to claim universal standards of beauty (Etcoff’s Survival of the Prettiest), and to account for the existence of a personal god (Boyer’s Religion Explained).  Consider that Science – arguably our most reliable source of valid knowledge – can also serve as a source of contentious ideas that are simultaneously engaging, provoking and perhaps (for some) even dangerous.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

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